Monday, April 30, 2012

The Secret Life of Peas

Check it out! The common pea is capable of processing, remembering and sharing information with its neighbors. Michael Marder, for the New York Times Opinionater, reports:

"...a team of scientists from the Blaustein Institute for Desert Research at Ben-Gurion University in Israel published the results of its peer-reviewed research, revealing that a pea plant subjected to drought conditions communicated its stress to other such plants, with which it shared its soil. In other words, through the roots, it relayed to its neighbors the biochemical message about the onset of drought, prompting them to react as though they, too, were in a similar predicament."

Any scientists/geneticists out there know if these findings have anything to do with how or why Mendel was able to study and and demonstrate inheritance through peas? Were those peas co-evolving with us and telling each other that being relevant in modern scientific experiments would foster future generations of intelligent peas that could one day outsmart their human predators? Nah... probably not... but it certainly doesn't surprise me that they grow and work together. 

Read Marder's full article "If Peas Can Talk, Should We Eat Them?" examining the ethics of eating such intelligent life forms here

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Maryland Day: Saturday April 28th

Visit the Public Health Garden on Maryland Day 2012 to check out all the amazing progress we've made in a single year (and all the other exciting, free, educational, agricultural, conservationist, delicious, etc - things happening on campus). We hope you will still be able to stop by and celebrate the success of this project with us!

The university has a great Plan Your Day feature on the Maryland Day website that you can visit in order to narrow down which activities you don't want to miss and print out your own itinerary. The Public Health Garden is listed under the football icon "Sports and Rec Row."

Parking is free anywhere on campus all day and events run from 10:00am - 4:00pm. And remember, the earlier you come, the better chance you have at snagging one of our plant giveaways :-)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Countdown to the weekend...

Itching to start the weekend on this B-E-A-UTIFUL Friday afternoon but stuck at your desk? Good news! There are lots of colorful new pictures of goats, gardens and greenhouse happenings up on the flickr stream. Check them out and get excited about spring plantings this weekend!

Happy Earth Day!

Hope everyone is having a beautiful Earth Week and has something enviro-friendly planned for the weekend to celebrate Earth Day. In case not, here are some local happenings:

The Science Center's Earth Day celebration on Saturday: There will be container-garden making with Baltimore Contained, herb cooking with Carrie Murray Nature Center, experiments with the American Chemical Society and plenty more eco-awesomeness with local green groups.More info can be found on the Science Center's site here:

Severna Park Earth Day on Saturday: Where the Eco-Goats will be!

Localize It: Baltimore Free Farm Block Party on Sunday: The second annual block party celebrating the value of local artists, musicians, food and social movements at its flagship project, the Ash Street Garden in Hampden. The event will include local craft and food vendors, street performers, live music and family activities. The block party's special attraction is ChiliBrew V, a home-brew competition and chili cook-off organized by BaltiBrew. More info can be found on their website

If you aren't local, check out the Earth Day Network for information about events near you!

Midday on the Bay: Natives, Invasives and Overall Health

In case you missed it, here is the link (Thursday April 19th) to hear my fave Chef Chad Wells talk about the invasive snakehead fish on Midday on the Bay. "If you can't beat 'em, eat 'em!"

Rona Kobell, from the Bay Journal, was on the show as well and shared some great news: There are 66% more blue crabs (764 million) in the bay since last year and the best year since 1993 which reveals that the restrictions made in 2008 were successful! As far as the report card grade, well... we can't control major weather events. Sigh.

Lots of very interesting conversation about bay health and how policies and threshold limits have helped maintain and improve that health. Some big things coming up surrounding menhaden protection too.

If you are interested in helping to maintain health by invasive snakehead eradication, support Chef Chad at Alewife Baltimore and consider getting a team together for the Potomac Snakehead Tournament this June.

Do you think Omega Protein the Monsanto of the waterways?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Chesapeake Bay Week on MPT

Did you know that the Chesapeake Bay estuary, the largest in the United States, was created by a meteor impact? Can you identify which aquatic life is native, invasive, protected and depleted? Want to know how you and your community contribute to the well-being of the Bay? Lucky for you, this week is Chesapeake Bay Week on Maryland Public Television! Programming throughout April 15-22 2012 will be highlighting some hot topics around the watershed  including several brand new programs:

  • Menhaden: The Most Important Fish in the Bay - Exploration of how the harvesting of Menhaden from the Chesapeake Bay is affecting its water quality (Monday April 16th 10:00pm, Tuesday April 17th 2:00am)
  • The Maryland Harvest: A Guide to Seasonal Eating - The food-to-table movement in Maryland and its impact on Maryland restaurants, chefs, farmers and consumers (Tuesday April 19th 9:00pm, Wednesday April 18th 2:00am)
  • Restoring the Bay: New Solutions for Old Problems - Riverkeeper Fred Kelley faces challenges to help clean up the Severn River (Tuesday April 19th 10:30pm, Wednesday April 18th 3:30am)

These are just a few of the new and returning programs so be sure and check the website for the full programming lineup and set those DVRs! The week wraps up with a live music broadcast in affiliation with all the amazing folks at WTMD 89.7 too. More info on the Concert for the Chesapeake Bay here. Want more facts? Visit: Chesapeake Bay Journal..

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Maryland Arbor Day Festivities: Wednesday 4/4/2012

The University of Maryland's annual Arbor Day observance is an integral part of UMCP's Tree Campus USA participation. The University of Maryland will celebrate tomorrow, April 4th, from 11;30am-noon with a ceremonial tree planting at Rossborough Inn. The ceremony features campus representatives including Dr. Loh and remarks about Arbor Day and the campus arboretum.

While you are there, take a look at the rejuvenated Rossborough Inn landscape planted through a service project with the local and student chapters of the Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS).

For more fun factoids about trees, check out the Urban Tree Benefits post from last year. Also, be sure and cast your vote for the University of Maryland in the Arbor Day Now tree grant contest.